Thursday, May 20, 2010
Paintings Worth Millions Stolen From Paris Museum
A thief stole five paintings possibly worth hundreds of millions of euros, including major works by Picasso and Matisse, in a brazen overnight heist at a Paris modern art museum, police and prosecutors said Thursday.
The paintings disappeared early Thursday from the Paris Museum of Modern Art, across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower in one of the French capital's most chic and tourist-frequented neighborhoods.
"Le pigeon aux petits-pois" (The Pigeon with the Peas) an ochre and brown Cubist oil painting by Pablo Picasso, was worth an estimated euro23 million, and "La Pastorale" (Pastoral), an oil painting of nudes on a hillside by Henri Matisse about euro15 million.
The other paintings stolen were "L'olivier pres de l'Estaque" (Olive Tree near Estaque) by Georges Braque; "La femme a l'eventail" (Woman with a Fan) by Amedeo Modigliani; and "Nature morte aux chandeliers" (Still Life with Chandeliers) by Fernand Leger.
Alice Farren-Bradley of the Art Loss Registry in London said the Paris theft "appears to be one of the biggest" art heists ever, considering the estimated value, the prominence of the artists and the high profile of the museum.